Thursday, July 25, 2013

5 Reasons Why Abused People Trust Those Who Are Unworthy

Abused people are often most loyal to those who are least worthy of it. Steven Brownlow, PhD

Why is that? Why do abused people remain loyal to unworthy people? Well, as a formerly abused person, I can give the answers to the reasons why an abused person would remain loyal to an unworthy person.

1. Abused people don't have emotional sensors to help them define unworthy treatment. 

An abused person is used to being hurt, exploited, disappointed, abused and disregarded. Poor treatment is customary for one who was abused in childhood. When you've never experienced positive, loving interactions, it is difficult to know the difference. You don't know what you're missing. When all you've ever known is abuse, you are attracted to that same abusive behavior--conditioned, so to speak to the abuse.

Learning to trust your instincts is difficult for the formerly abused person because they were denied access to their own feelings in order to survive the abuse from childhood.  It's like being on a road with no directional signs. You have to learn from scratch how to decipher different feelings in your heart in order to know what you're experiencing, and then you have to learn new skills for expressing your needs and setting boundaries. This is a monumental task as an adult! It's hard to make-up for many years of maltreatment, but it can be done. You can get free from abusive relationship patterns.

2. Abused people can experience repetition compulsion.

When all you've ever known is mistreatment, you have a psychological desire to right the wrongs of the past, plus, if you've always been treated bad, you may have learned to enjoy being treated that way.  This is called repetition compulsion (Freud), where you get in a relationship with a person like your abusive parent in an attempt to make them love you. It's all subconscious and leads to further pain for the abused person. In some respects, however, it actually feels good to be treated badly making it very difficult to break free from the cycle.

3. Abused people may feel unworthy of proper, respectful treatment.

Someone who was harmed as a child likely has been given the message by caretakers, and others throughout life that he or she is not worthy. As such, that person may not feel worthy deep down at the core. If you don't feel worthy, you will tolerate disrespect. If you do not feel worthy you will try to PROVE your worth to another person in order to EARN their love. Or, you may mold your desires to suit their wishes and whims and totally lose yourself, your identity in the process.

4. Abused people desperately need someone to love and trust, but don't know what trust is.

Abused people were not given the basic training manual on how to develop trust. Without someone to trust to begin with, how can you learn to trust? It's difficult, but not impossible with much dedication and diligence. If the abused person is not completely healed, and if he or she does not know their worth, they may trust someone prematurely with their valuable heart and soul. What the abused person needs is a road map, and lots of practice in knowing who and how to trust others.

5. Abused people are easily fooled.

An abused person has parts of them that are as naive as a child when it comes to relating with other human beings. That's because abuse stunts the emotional development of a person. The abused person's need for love and lack of protective warning sensors in their emotions makes them a sitting duck for abusive others. An abuser who gets out of exploiting others can easily get past that person's defenses and close to their heart where they can take advantage like a fox in the hen house. Afterall, if abused as a child, it's like growing up with the fox (exploiter) as a caretaker. Without the proper guidance and conditioning, the abused person is like a sitting duck.

Abused people lack the natural defenses needed to guide and protect them from further abuse. They may also be prone to self-sabotage. Defenses to trusting someone who is untrustworthy include:
  • Self worth / Self love
  • Assertiveness
  • Emotional maturity
  • Clear boundaries
  • Internal Support

What can be done? How can someone who was abused stop the cycle of abuse as an adult? How can he or she turn back time and re-program their mind so they can stop trusting the wrong people who will only end up breaking their hearts and leaving them in pain?

1. Mindfulness

It's important that we all know what is going on with our own body, mind and soul. Mindfulness is a technique to help the abused person become more aware of their inner world and get more in tune
with their thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs and desires.

2. Emotional Clarity

The abused person must heal from the emotional hurts that were inflicted as a child through the releasing of pent up sadness, shame, anger and rage. These e-motions are simply "energy-in-motion" that must be processed to be resolved. Once you become in touch with these deep emotions, you are more emotionally available to yourself and these emotions are accessible to you for inner guidance.

3. Assertiveness

An abused person needs a huge dose of assertiveness, which I have found comes naturally when you get in touch with any repressed anger you hold inside during the emotional clarity process. Rage is an infantile emotion that develops into assertiveness, if one is raised properly. If not raised properly, rage turns inward and you become a doormat. If you want to get assertive, you need to get mad. You need to get mad at people who are out to abuse you and turn away from poor treatment immediately.

4. Reprogram Your Mind

If an abused person wishes to stop being drawn to untrustworthy people, he or she must get out of their comfort zone. They must create new neurological synapses that rewire their brains so that they are capable of one day being comfortable with positive treatment. Your brain has plasticity, so this is possible. It's not easy, but it is possible.

5. Set Boundaries

You must set limits and boundaries within yourself and outside of yourself with others. Boundaries are not easy to set when you come from an abusive background where boundaries were not allowed. Abusers hate boundaries! You must, however, overcome your tendency to merge psychologically with others and to lay down like a door mat. Your boundaries protect your identity and keep you safe and free from harm. It is your job to learn to set boundaries. Practice makes perfect!

What do you think? Are there any other things a person should do? I would love to hear from you. Please comment...


  1. I like the article, but it doesn't work, we're human beings who have grown and learned things, and to be quite honest some of us are just fucking up and nothing is going to change that.

  2. You have to learn from scratch how to decipher different feelings in your heart in order to know what you're experiencing, and then you have to learn new skills for expressing your needs and setting boundaries. This is a monumental task as an adult!

    .... yes

    For me it feels like being asked to do a university exam without even having attended primary school.

  3. This article is surely talking about me.
    I had already started to note these things such as childish trust and naivete, repeated exploitations and being super quick to trust.

    Even a flirtation was enough to make me think someone want a relationship and it kept happening so many times.
    A simple promise i would instantly belief without evaluating the person talking!

    I thought being exploited was a sign of being valued so imagine my availability to abusers!! They were like swarms of flies without an invitation card.

    And all this was started by a horrible abusive excuse of a mother.